Martin Parr’s narrative focuses on society, observing and depicting it in a real way, with sharp language and a slightly ironic look. He shows us the reality completely without a filter, also pointing out its flaws and imperfections. “It is a way, at least I think, to communicate what I think about the country, about anything. Through photography I know that I can express myself at my best”. Photography is his personal medium through which he manages to describe a point of view about people, cities, and the world. His shots speak, and they let transpire his thinking, his eccentric personality, and his attitude, which since the beginning of his career has remained the same. Photo London celebrates Martin Parr by naming him Master of Photography 2023: not only he’s one of the most iconic figures in British photography, but his compatriots have been the great theme throughout his career. The shots are an ode to the nation he calls “home”: the bright colors of the images and his sense of humor depict people in a bright and humorous way; it is his way of coming out and representing with his point of view, what he sees and what he feels. The exhibition at Photo London features new, never-before-seen photographs taken in England, joining his hometown-related project that has continued for more than fifty years, Martin Parr: Recent Works.
“I think of these images as an interpretation of the many mixed emotions I feel towards my homeland. It is almost a love/hate relationship.”
Martin Parr is inspired by comedians to take his pictures, learning from them the way to tell a profound subject by inserting a dash of humor, his unmistakable trademark. His story of reality is both accurate and funny, personal, yet incredibly true. The photographs presented during the exhibition are very recent shots documenting the British Isles side by side with some great classics extrapolated from his Beach Teraphy project. Beaches have always been one of his most beloved subjects: people during days at sea are themselves, mind playing along the shore, sunbathing and relaxing. It is a place dear to him, which he describes as a human laboratory, through which he is able to experiment with new ideas and new approaches, pushing the limits of what the camera can do.
“For over 50 years now I have been photographing in Britain and Ireland and have built a comprehensive archive of my time here, which has been further broken down into different chapter.”
The project is a collection of photographs taken in different seaside locations, dividing the book into the different stages that have characterized his beach photography. The colors of the place and the particular light reflecting off the sand have always attracted the attention of Martin Parr, who still enjoys shooting people immersed in their own world. Photo London demonstrates the photographer’s will to continue shooting the British Isles and their people: the images are an interpretation of the many mixed emotions he feels toward his nation. Dealing with this love/hate relationship is a real therapy, a way to challenge himself, to give vent to his ironic and brilliant character.
For further information photolondon.org.